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Statoil Completes Investigations after Incidents at its Terminal & Platform

Source: 12/21/2016, Location: Europe

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The investigations following an industrial accident involving exposure to H2S at the Sture terminal and smoke development and a small fire in a utility shaft on Statfjord A have been completed. The reports have been submitted to the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway.

On Wednesday 12 October five people were injured after being exposed to H2S gas (hydrogen sulphide) at the Sture terminal outside Bergen. On Sunday 16 October smoke development and a fire in a utility shaft on Statfjord A was reported. Nobody was injured in the incident.

“The serious incidents that occurred this autumn are not satisfactory. It is imperative for us to carefully look into all aspects of the incidents to ensure that learning helps improve safety. The investigation reports will be systematically followed up with specific measures to further strengthen our safety work,” says Jannicke Nilsson, executive vice president and chief operating officer (COO).


Five people; two operators, one apprentice and two students on work placements, were exposed to H2S gas at the Sture terminal in connection with work on an H2S reactor. A 14-metre high concrete vessel, the H2S reactor works as a produced water and ballast water cleaning facility with a short vent pipe on the top. One of the five individuals was critically injured, one seriously injured and three individuals were slightly injured. All made a full recovery and are now back in normal routines at work and/or at school.

The internal investigation report defines the incident as having the highest degree of seriousness, and concludes that in other slightly different circumstances the incident could have resulted in fatalities.

“It is highly likely that the effort of the personnel at the Sture terminal helped prevent a more serious outcome of the incident. But the investigation shows that the safety of the employees was not adequately taken care of this October day. We take this very seriously, and it is crucial that we pursue the findings of this investigation report and use it to strengthen the safety work on the plants,” says executive vice president for Marketing, Midstream and Processing Jens Okland.

“In connection with this incident we acknowledge that we had not been able to empower the operations organisation at Sture to make the right risk assessments associated with the work on the H2S reactor. The conclusions in the report form the basis for both immediate initiatives and more long-term measures at Sture. This, in turn, will result in learning and sharing of experience with the rest of the company’s onshore facilities,” says Lars Rosenl?v, Statoil’s senior vice president for onshore facilities.

The report emphasises several root causes of the incident. Inadequate risk understanding, inadequate skills and emergency response management, in addition to failing barriers in connection with the inspection of the H2S reactor are key elements here. The report forms the basis for measures including: specific operational measures such as more use of portable gas detectors and improved operational procedures related to the H2S reactor, as well as general actions to help increase risk understanding among all employees and improve the quality of the safety work.

Statfjord A

A small fire occurred in the seal oil in the loading pump transferring oil from the platform to the tanker. When the stop signal to the pump was activated, it led to fatigue fracture on the shaft inside the switch chamber where the power is connected/disconnected. The fire was extinguished by the sprinkler system.

“The investigation report states that the risk of escalation was small, and concludes that the incident did not involve a major-accident potential. There was furthermore no potential for personal injury related to the incident, however, it gives us valuable learning that we will apply in our work to prevent recurrence and strengthen safety on our installations,” says Oystein Arvid H?land, Statoil’s vice president for safety and sustainability of Development and Production Norway.

Improvement work and safety

Several incidents this autumn called for actions to find out whether there are any connections between the incidents and Statoil’s improvement programmes.

“The two completed investigations do not prove any connections between our improvement work and the incidents. Nevertheless, we take signals of a demanding work situation due to many ongoing efficiency initiatives seriously. We evaluate this thoroughly, and follow up to ensure that the company’s improvement work strengthens both safe and efficient operation,” says Nilsson.

Other incidents that occurred this autumn are still under investigation. In order to follow up the incidents Statoil has initiated actions to expand and improve the company’s safety effort, with particular focus on safety management, learning and collaboration, both across the organisation and in relation to suppliers and collaboration partners. The Sture and Statfjord A incidents are also being investigated by the Petroleum Safety Authority Norway and the police.

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